Divine Weep initially formed as a Black Metal band over 20 years ago, but after a couple of demos things went rather quiet for a while until the guitarist and drummer regrouped with new members and within a few years issued a more straight-edged Metal album “Tears Of The Ages” in 2015. After five more years honing their style and with a new vocalist on board the band now return to build on that album and style with a crunching slab of Heavy Power Metal that embraces melody as easily as it pushes aggression.

Using a framework of classic turn-of-the-Millennium European Power Metal such as Mystic Prophecy, Iron Fire. Human Fortress etc. the band cleverly mix in other elements to keep their sound fresh. There’s more than a bit of classic US Speed Metal about the time changes and acrobatic vocal style which ramps up the heavier, energetic side to their sound, rather than sticking to the European blueprint, which works really well. Every song is a riff-fest, switching tempos and moods with ease, keeping things unpredictable (for instance there’s even a couple of moments of their early Black Metal in the blast-beat section of “Firestone”) and shows the band are willing and able to do whatever they feel a song needs to lift it just that bit higher.

Following that tendency to do the unexpected – I wasn’t quite expecting the Power-ballad type first section of “Riders Of Navia”, which as I give it further spins starts to make more sense but initially sounded a little strained and out of place to me. Divine Weep sound more at home on the Speed/Power side of things, with songs like the title track and “The Screaming Skull Of Silence”, that evoke everything from Helstar to Judas Priest with effortless abandon, driving home riff after riff of balls-to-the-wall Metal (with a nice slab of Melodic Black Metal in the middle for added spice in the latter). Yep, Divine Weep have their own approach and I think it really works. Maybe their punchier, aggressive, faster attitude lies in their Blacker roots, or maybe it’s just the combined result of the five guys in the band, but whatever it is I hope they keep pursuing it and pushing it even further as they come very close to absolutely nailing it.

(7.5/10 Andy Barker)